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United States v. Sanyaolu

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

April 18, 2017




         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Olu Kanni Sanyaolu's (“Defendant”) Motion in Limine to Exclude Fingerprint Evidence and for a Daubert Hearing [49] (“Motion”).

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Facts

         On April 12, 2016, a grand jury in the Northern District of Georgia returned a three-count Indictment [1] against Defendant, charging Defendant, in Count One, with knowingly procuring, contrary to law, naturalization and citizenship in the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1425(a). The Government later dismissed Counts Two and Three. ([26], [27]).

         On or about April 8, 1998, Defendant, who is a native of Nigeria, was granted asylum in the United States. In 2009, Defendant petitioned for citizenship through naturalization, and, on or about July 20, 2009, citizenship was granted. In March 2014, Defendant traveled to Nigeria. On his way back, on April 21, 2014, Defendant arrived at the Houston International Airport. In the Customs inspections area, an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (“AFIS”) examination of Defendant determined that he was linked to two fingerprint identification numbers-one number for him, and another for Kunle Olukanni. The Olukanni immigration file shows that, in 1992, Mr. Olukanni applied for asylum in New York. Asylum was denied in September 1994. Mr. Olukanni's wife then petitioned for adjustment of his status, and Mr. Olukanni filed a concurrent application to register permanent residence or to adjust status. The applications also did not result in a grant of lawful immigration. As a result, on July 23, 1998, Mr. Olukanni was ordered to be deported.

         On June 17, 2015, Homeland Security Fingerprint Specialist Dean Roan issued a laboratory report regarding comparisons of fingerprint cards submitted by Defendant and those submitted by Mr. Olukanni. The three cards contained fingerprints bearing the names Olu Kanni Sanyaolu, dated May 31, 1997, fingerprints bearing the name Kunle Olukanni, dated July 27, 1995, and fingerprints bearing the name Olukanni, dated August 29, 1992. These fingerprints were also compared against fingerprints bearing the name Olu Kanni Sanyaolu, dated April 20, 2016, and the May 31, 1997 fingerprints bearing the name Olu Kanni Sanyaolu.

         Mr. Roan determined that the fingerprint impressions on the cards were made by the same person. Mr. Roan's one-page report does not describe the methodology that he used to reach his conclusion that the “fingerprint impressions . . . were made by one and the same person.” ([49.1]).

         B. Procedural History

         On January 9, 2017, Defendant filed his Motion, seeking to exclude the presentation of Mr. Roan's fingerprint evidence or, in the alternative, for a Daubert[1] hearing prior to trial to determine admissibility of the fingerprint evidence. Defendant argued that he did not receive any evidence other than Mr. Roan's one-page fingerprint comparison report, and that this information is insufficient to meet the admissibility standards set forth in the Federal Rules of Evidence and in Daubert.

         In its response [51], the Government presented Mr. Roan's curriculum vitae and a summary of Mr. Roan's experience and expected testimony. The Government represented that, before testifying about the particular fingerprints at issue in this case, Mr. Roan will provide an overview regarding the characteristics of fingerprints, how fingerprint exemplars may be obtained, and the methodology that he follows to conduct analysis of fingerprint samples.

         The Court concluded that Mr. Roan's one-page report did not describe the methodology he used to reach his conclusion, and did not provide evidence of the methodology's review and acceptance within the scientific community. On March 31, 2017, the Court issued its Order [59] requiring the Government to submit further evidence to support the methodology Mr. Roan used to conduct his fingerprint comparisons.

         On April 6, 2017, the Government submitted its response to the Court's Order [60]. The Government now represents that Mr. Roan plans to retire from federal service prior to the trial in this case, and that Thomas Liszkiewicz, a fingerprint specialist who “verified Mr. Roan's results by completing an independent examination of the fingerprints, ” will testify at trial. The Government provides Mr. Liszkiewicz's curriculum vitae, and a summary of his analysis in this case, which includes background regarding the ACE-V methodology.

         Mr. Liszkiewicz states that he verified Mr. Roan's June 2015, examination results. Mr. Liszkiewicz found that all of the fingerprint impressions “contained a right slant loop reference tented arch fingerprint impression in the right index finger block. The fingerprint impressions . . . were compared using the . . . ACE-V methodology and it was determined that these fingerprint impressions contained the ...

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